A/N: So I wrote this as an assingment for band about a year ago and the prompt was to write a short story inspired by the piece we were rehearsing at the time ('Nevermore' by Brain Balmages if you're interested). Originally I didn't write this with anyone in mind as the murderer but I figured it was a good fit for Sweeney's character. Enjoy!
Nights like these were rare. Fog that rests cautiously on the ground, floating about as if made from ghosts was hard to come by. Snow had begun to fall and it softly covered the roads, houses, lampposts, and any foolish creature who dared to be out at such an hour. But he was no fool. He knew how to use the night, the shadows, how to harness them and make them his allies. He crossed the bridge and landed on a dimly lit street just as a lone church bell called out the hour. Which hour he didn't know, but it hardly mattered. All he needed was one soul. One death to make him feel alive.
He continued down the middle of the road and listened for footsteps. He could tell who was wandering the night from the sound of the footfalls. Urgent clicks signaled the heels of a whore, looking for some company. Shuffling usually meant a drunk was nearby and the heavy weighted boots of a constable told him to keep walking and prowl somewhere else. But tonight, the only sounds he heard were the crunching of the snow beneath his shoes and occasional rustle of an alley cat somewhere in a side street or a howl of a distant dog. These things were not worth his time.
He passed a couple modest shops, a post office, an opium den, and enough brothels to make a man turn celibate. The East End was filled with streets like these, but Whitechapel was his favorite. The crimes there were so gruesome and so frequent that another few murders would go unnoticed.
A drunkard stumbled out of a bar, drink still in hand, haphazardly singing a song about lovely ladies and a voyage. He stopped in his tracks and leaned on a lamppost, watching as the man danced into the night. A fat man without enough brains to tell his sister from his wife. He started following the man, keeping a few paces behind him, studying his surroundings, and then quickening his pace. His blood rushed and his smile widened. He drew his knife and whispered, "Now then, my friend, see to your purpose…"
He grabbed the man and dragged him into an alley. The man's intoxicated state yielded a poor reaction causing him to fall back and trap his attacker under him. This did not falter him though, as he regained his footing and drew his knife, ready to stab the man. The man flailed and kicked but the shadows drew to their wielder, who had retreated farther into the ally, letting the man think he had escaped danger. Once the man hauled himself up, he lunged and wrapped a hand around the man's neck and began to drag him further into the alley. The man choked and gasped for breath, but he did not relent his grip. It was taking too long, the man was making too much noise, surely someone would hear! The man had gotten a couple of punches in, anything to try and save his life. He was knocked back by another blow. No! His victim was getting away ; how dare he leave? His heart raced as he became more alert to every sound he heard. He became more paranoid by the minute. What if a constable happens to come around the corner and hears the tussle? This man must die! He just has to! He grabbed the back of the man's shirt and pulled him back into a wall. He took his knife which lay scattered on the floor - knocked out of his hand earlier by the man's punch - and cut through the air in front of him, slicing the man's throat. He frantically stabbed and slashed, cut and hacked, covering himself with blood. The man must die! He had been sentenced by Death himself! He must die for giving him so much trouble, for not being a cooperative victim! You must die you pitiful drunken fool!
All that was heard was his laboured breathing. The man had died a long time ago and yet his body showed signs of much larger and prolonged struggle. As he composed himself and stood, he saw what he had done. Stab wounds littered the body, some gnashes so deep you could see bone. The man's right arm lay severed in a pool of blood and his stomach had been slashed open revealing guts that spilled onto the stones. Fingers lay scattered somewhere, the only evidence being the bloody stumps on the man's hands. Something for the police to find then, he thought. As he looked closer, he saw pink mash sliding down a blood-drenched wall, no doubt the brains of the man.
"A muder most foul…" He smirked as he wiped his blade and neatly tucked it away. He turned around and continued walking down the street, lighting his pipe along the way.
The night had returned to normal, and Big Ben cried out another hour forlornly as he became enveloped in thick shadows once more.